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I have been seeing Income Reports flying around the freelance-sphere since I got started as a Virtual Assistant. I love the transparency, so I figured that it might be time for me to start releasing my own income reports!

I’ve been freelancing part-time since January 2018, and started full-time in July. Now, I don’t know if y’all know this but I’m pregnant with my first baby so about half of my part-time was spent in first trimester fog and starting in July was when I really took my job seriously. Now, I’ve been taking this process slow. I’ve been scouring Facebook groups for any leads and really working on making sure that my systems are set up so that my lifestyle doesn’t suffer. With that said, I made $625.00 revenue in September 2018!

Revenue breakdown

  • Virtual Assistant Services $500
  • Web Maintenance $125
  • Total $625.00

Expenses Breakdown

  • Profit Planner Lounge $67
  • Email & File Management $34.27
  • Credit Card Processing $14.80
  • Total $116.07

Profit Breakdown

$625.00 – $116.07 = $508.93

Goals

1. Onboard my new clients.

I had new clients come in August so September was when I needed to onboard their projects. Since January, when I have a new client it is usually one a month. This time, I think I was onboarding about four new clients (paid & free work).

It was a great test for my systems and workflow! I learned a lot about how I want to keep track of client information & tasks (I use Trello & Dubsado) and I also learned a valuable lesson. (See 2 below!)

2. Hit $1,000 in revenue.

I had been hitting around $500 a month for a few months now & I was ready to double that goal. Annnnnd didn’t hit it.

Something that you (and I) need to keep in mind with freelancing is that you will be constantly finding new leads on your own for awhile. What can be great is building a passive lead generator & doing work for free for a certain amount of clients. (YES, I did agree to work for free for about three clients, BUT I made sure that they wrote a testimonial to include on my website!) If you aren’t getting the leads that you want, then I highly recommend offering work for free. Maybe you offer an audit of their social media, maybe you offer two hours free for virtual assistance, whatever! You just have to put yourself out there, get the testimonials, and then see about getting others to spread the word for you. (A referral program is also a great idea once you’ve had a couple of clients under your belt!)

3. Begin to narrow down my services.

I’m part of Profit Planner Lounge and I’m loving every second of it! This is a great group of business owners that are making strides on their business to grow to the next level. What has been SUPER helpful is that I know exactly what that next level is! I’m currently in the Develop Stage of business. This means that my first task is to “narrow down services”. Reading over that the first time, I thought, “Pffft! I do web design, ad management, and virtual assistance. That’s narrow enough!”

But it kept nagging me. I realized in September that those are actually broad categories to say what I do. I even asked my husband if he was able to explain what I do when I work from home. …He had no clue. When I realized this, I saw that I needed to narrow down my services almost to the point of scaring me. (So, just a heads up, I don’t offer ad management services anymore or the broad spectrum of virtual assistance tasks that I know I can do.)

Three lessons learned

1. Create a passive lead generator early.

And PROMOTE IT. I built a quiz to be my lead generator. I can get an idea of what the client already has going on, what they want to fix immediately, and if I’m able to help them then I’ll offer to set up a call. GENIUS.

However, I’ve been doing a cuss poor job of promoting my quiz. Just because I have the quiz on my website doesn’t mean that people know it is there. Same thing for you if you are currently taking new clients. They may not realize that you are accepting new clients or when you are ready to start their projects. Create a free Hello Bar & let people know that you are available!

Make sure to also include your lead generator on your social media. I’m planning on creating an image for my Facebook page & changing the CTA button to be the quiz. I’m planning on adding it to my Instagram as my website link. I’m adding it to my Pinterest profile as a shortened link. I’m doing all three of these things in October so that during these coming couple of months it will be easy for people to reach out to me.

If you want to make your own quiz, then I’d recommend Typeform and have it send notifications to you. I’d also create a free Zapier account and set up when you get a new Typeform result that it automatically sends an email to the person. (I’m working on updating my quiz so that it gives them a legit quiz result based on their answers. Pretty excited to get it going.)

2. Get your systems in order.

If you have been flying by the seat of your pants, then these are the 3 systems that I’d create first for your business.

  1. Weekly Tasks
    • I created a Trello board to keep up with my weekly tasks. I even have it where tasks I do every day automatically create a new card every day, and I filter my cards so that once it is marked as done then it goes away.
  2. Client Portal
    • I created a Trello board to also keep up with my client’s requests. Instead of getting CRAZY emails where they detail out 5 tasks that they want by the end of the week and then further explaining those tasks in five more emails, I tell them to create Trello cards. All the communication about one tasks happens ONLY on the card. This has cut down on my mental freak-outs because now communication only happens in ONE PLACE. (I pretty much have the tattoo, “If it wasn’t written in Trello, then it didn’t happen.)
    • Clients are also able to include due dates, attachments, & comments with their tasks which can help me to know what they are wanting me to create.
    • I also include links to any forms that I need them to sign, time tracking sheets if it is hourly work, & keep general updates in the Trello board. Oh, and if it’s a proposal that they have to approve then I make sure to give them an expiration date for the proposal. It helps to light a fire under their little butts!
    • I made another board that keeps track of my current clients. I make sure to number my clients and include a card with the link to their client portal board.
  3. Monthly content creation
    • At first, business is slow enough that you can write & post every day for social media. Then, it starts picking up so you start scheduling about a week ahead. Then, it explodes and you just do not have time for your content creation.
    • I did the same thing. That’s why I’m switching to a monthly content creation day. Yes, a whole day where I know that my husband is at normal work, the dog has been walked so she’ll nap in the afternoon, and I can turn off notifications on my phone & laptop. I only create on that day. In the morning, I’ll schedule my social media posts. Take a break. In the afternoon, I’ll write at least four more blog posts.
    • There are some rules to getting this much work done in one day though:
      1. Phone is on do not disturb.
      2. Grandma is not on life support, so I know the phone calls can wait.
      3. TV does not exist.
    • Or whatever your “time suck” is. You may be “searching for new instagram photos” but you just wasted two hours for scheduling those posts! (See next.)
  4. Pomodoro Timers are my best friend.
    • If you’ve never used a Pomodoro Timer then this will become your best friend on the road to productivity. How it works:
      1. Google “Pomodoro Timer” (my favorite is THIS ONE.)
      2. You will start with a long task (25 minutes)
      3. When that finished you go to a short break (5 minutes). I recommend truly stepping away from your computer during this break!
      4. Another long task (25 minutes)
      5. Another short break (5 minutes)
      6. Another long task (25 minutes)
      7. Another short break (5 minutes)
      8. Another long task (25 minutes)
      9. A LONG break (25 minutes). I recommend using this time to step away from your computer & get a personal chore done.
    • I really prefer to use the app on my phone since I don’t have to keep up with if I’m on a long or short break yet. I’ve also learned that if I can’t get a task finished in 25 minutes, then something went wrong or I need to create a quick system to get through it faster.
    • So, if you spend about two long task times creating the “schedule” for your posts, then you have two more long task times to plug in your first two weeks of the month. Then, two more long task times to plug in your last two weeks of the month, and in three hours you could be DONE with a month of content creation AND scheduling!
    • For scheduling content, I prefer to use Facebook for Facebook posts & Later for Instagram. WordPress blog posts will be scheduled in my WordPress dashboard as well.

3. Narrow down your services.

As I said above, I’m currently working through this myself. Yes, it is terrifying. When I first started working from home I thought that it would be better for me to offer multiple services so that people could come to me for a “one-stop-shop”. Looking back, I see the error in that myth. If I don’t narrow down, then people don’t know how to tell others what I do. They’ll say, “Well, she did (insert this broad service) for me…but I can’t tell you what she did specifically.” By narrowing down, people are able to immediately jump to the results. “Yes, Ann did (this specific service) for me & I saw (insert results). You should absolutely hire her!”

By narrowing down my services, it also helps me to build extreme expertise in a topic. My coach was honestly surprised when I mentioned that I may be narrowing down my virtual assistant services to not just “social media management” but pinterest management. She asked for some specifics. I babbled on and on about how I was split testing this and getting results for this client and able to see DOUBLE website traffic with my own website. She was so impressed that she actually referred someone to me on the spot!


September wasn’t the greatest financially, but I know that I continue to learn so much about business from working at home. Also, I can’t imagine going back to the unhealthy lifestyle that I had as a teacher.

If you want to get started with your own business but are scared, then set up a virtual coffee chat with me on my contact page. I’d love to encourage you, & maybe even help you get your first few systems up & running!

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Ann Bellow helps women who struggle with booking clients to become her own boss by breaking the patterns that keep her broke.

Do you want 1-3 private clients in the next 30 days? Let's talk!

Work with Me

Ann Bellow helps women who struggle with booking clients to become her own boss by breaking the patterns that keep her broke.

Do you want 1-3 private clients in the next 30 days? Let's talk!

Work with Me

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